Tag:Kosuke Fukudome
Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Quade has zero good leadoff options

Sunday, the Cubs will begin Cactus League play. Kosuke Fukudome will bat leadoff for Mike Quade's team, but that doesn't mean traditional fast-starter will be the first Cubs hitter on April 1 in the season opener. Quade told the Chicago Tribune it's far too early to know who he is going to lead off on that day.

The problem is, Cubs fans are going to complain no matter who Quade pencils into that leadoff spot, because every single player on the team is ill-suited to hit there.

In the above linked article, the Trib noted how dreadful Fukudome was in the leadoff slot last season. He does have a career .446 OBP in March and April, however, so he might be the best option. Still, he generally regresses as the season moves along and is only a career .233 hitter in the leadoff spot -- so it's not like he appears the long-term solution.

But look around the rest of the roster.

Starlin Castro is going to hit second, Quade has announced. The future star still doesn't have enough grasp of the strike zone to man the top of the order.

Alfonso Soriano? That's old hat and let us all thank Quade for not subjecting us to those debates again.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena are obviously not options.

Marlon Byrd had a good season last year, but only 31 walks in 630 plate appearances to go with a .293 batting average doesn't fit. He's more a six-hole at this point.

Blake DeWitt has a career .335 OBP, which would be awful for a leadoff man. He has never shown signs of being able to handle much more than the eight-hole, but he is only 25.

Tyler Colvin's .316 OBP is even worse, so even if he supplants Fukudome as the early-season starter -- there's no doubt the job is his for good once mid-May strikes -- he's not viable at the top.

So, if you were Quade, who would you bat first? I honestly think I'd go into the season with Fukudome and hope that someone else shows a good penchant for getting on base during April and the first few weeks of May. Maybe Castro adapts, DeWitt surprises or Colvin alters his approach. The most likely scenario is this will be a hole for the entire season, which isn't the worst thing in the world. He could always just force Byrd up there out of necessity -- the veteran is enough of a professional to deal with it well. After all, the Giants entered last season with Aaron Roward atop the order.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: December 1, 2010 11:07 pm
 

Fukudome considering returning to Japan in 2012

Kosuke Fukudome Kosuke Fukudome is looking at returning to Japan, but hold on that rejoicing Cubs fans, he's looking to do it in 2012, after his contract is up.

YakyuBaka.com has the translation from Nikkan Sports of Fukudome's meeting with reporters in Japan on Wednesday.

"To play in the US, to return to Japan, to each their own. And until that time comes, I won't know," Fukudome said. "Playing every day is what every player wants. I don't think returning to Japan would be bad. The [Chunichi Dragons] could be a possibility. … I feel there's a sense that I need to do something different next season. I think I had a pretty good season this year. I'd like to try and keep that momentum going."

Fukudome hit .263/.371/.439 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI. Not a bad line for a part-time player, not quite what you're looking for from someone making $13 million. Fukudome will make $13.5 million last season. The outfielder has a no-trade clause and must be signed to an extension by Nov. 15, 2011 or release him -- and I think we all know what that choice will be.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: November 10, 2010 6:46 pm
 

Don't expect a Matsuzaka/Fukudome trade

Fukudome Earlier Wednesday, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs were kicking around the idea of a Kosuke Fukudome-Daisuke Matsuzaka swap in what would have been a multiplayer deal.

That didn't pass the smell test, as Fukudome (pictured) is an overpaid ($13.5 million due in 2011) outfielder best utilized as a platoon, and even coming off his best OPS in the majors (.802), is still not a quality starting outfielder. Matsuzaka has his own warts, but comes cheaper ($10 million per year through 2010), previous history of success and plays a position far more in demand: starting pitcher.

The Cubs likely realized that it would take more than Fukudome to land Matsuzaka by considering a multiplayer package, but even the fact Fukudome would have been included, and likely as the primary chip, still didn't make sense.

Well, consider the rumor debunked. Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald reports that a baseball source familiar with the Red Sox's thinking (how much more obscure can you get?) says that Boston would have no interest in such a swap.

By trading Matsuzaka, Boston would have an open rotation spot and no clear person to fill it. They would have to dip into free agency or be confident that prospect Felix Doubront could hold up over an entire year in the rotation, which is a lot to ask of the youngster this soon. In addition, Boston has a full outfield already and wouldn't make a move there unless a clear upgrade. Fukudome is not that upgrade.

This is one rumor that didn't make sense and is now debunked.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 1, 2010 10:28 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Trade market still open


Adam Dunn Everyone refers to the last day of July as the "trade deadline" even if it's not exactly accurate. It's officially the "non-waiver trade deadline" and that first part may not roll off the tongue, but it's important. It's the reason why one of the most speculated-about players at the deadline, Adam Dunn, told me July 31 "doesn't mean [anything]" to him.

Dunn should know, in the last year of a two-year deal, Dunn's movement will be speculated upon throughout the next month. He also knows from experience, two years ago the Reds traded him to Arizona after the non-waiver trade deadline.

Waivers are certainly a complication, but deals still get done until the end of the month, when a player has to be on the roster to be eligible for the postseason. So how does it work?

First, most teams put most -- if not all -- their players through the waiver process since you don't have to give up a player who is claimed, you can just pull him off waivers.

Unclaimed players can be traded to any team. Claimed players can be kept, traded or just handed over to the claiming team for nothing but salary relief. That's what happened last year when the Blue Jays put him on waivers, the White Sox claimed him and Toronto was happy to shed his remaining five years for $59.7 million on his contract. So, if some team wanted to claim Carlos Zambrano or Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs would likely dance for joy. But that's unlikely to happen (even though I would have said the same thing a year ago about Rios).

Now, if just one team claims a player, he can be dealt only to that team. If more than one team claims a player, he can be traded to the team with the worst record in his league that claims him. If no team in the same league claims the player, but more than one team in the other league claims him, he can be traded to the team with the worst record.

So now with the process out of the way, it's good to keep in mind that this isn't an unusual process. Last season Scott Kazmir, Jim Thome, Carl Pavano, Alex Gonzalez, Brad Penny, Aubrey Huff, Billy Wagner, Jon Garland and Ivan Rodriguez. So who could that be this year?

Obviously, Dunn is still out there. He realizes the real trade deadline is at the end of this month, not the beginning. If the Nationals can't agree to an extension, the Nationals need to get something for Dunn. Based on many of the rumors that were out there, it was hardly surprising he wasn't dealt. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was asking for the moon and nobody was willing to spend the money to get there. White Sox GM Kenny Williams hasn't exactly hidden his desire for Dunn, and a little thing like waivers won't stop him. However, he'll have to hope nearly the rest of the teams pass on the big man, and that's not likely.

The biggest name that could move would be Manny Ramirez. The Dodgers don't know what they're going to get out of him and could shed roughly $7 million. As CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller notes , Ramirez has a full no-trade clause, but would likely waive that to go to the American League and DH. If the White Sox can't get Dunn, Ramirez may be a solid backup option -- albeit a bit expensive.

Andy LaRoche Diamondbacks first baseman Adam LaRoche has a mutual option for 2011 that increases to $9.5 million if he's traded, though the buyout remains at $1.5 million. Kelly Johnson may not get through waivers, but could still be traded. He's arbitration eligible after the season.

The Royals would certainly love for another team to take Jose Guillen and what's left of the $12 million salary for this season. Guillen is a free agent after the season.

Mike Lowell is still -- sorta -- with the Red Sox, but would likely sail through waivers because he's owed the remainder of his $12 million salary this season and nobody's quite sure what they'll get out of him.

The reliever market didn't see much action on Saturday, but Toronto's Kevin Gregg, Seattle's David Aardsma and Colorado's Joe Beimel could be moved before the end of this month.

As for starters, Colorado's Aaron Cook is signed for $9.25 million next season with a mutual option of $11 million in 2012 and a $0.5 million buyout. His annual salary increases by $1 million for each season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: July 23, 2010 3:22 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 4:07 pm
 

Trade deadline buyer: Chicago White Sox

As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline looms, the CBS Facts & Rumors team will look at the biggest players leading up to the deadline. This week we'll look at the teams who will be talked about the most; next week will be the players who might be moved.

Kenny Williams On June 8, the White Sox were nine games under .500 and 9 ½ games back in the American League Central. But then they roared back into the playoff picture with an amazing surge and now sit atop the division.

General manager Kenny Williams has said he wants to bulk up for the second half, and he’s one of the more mercurial figures in the game, prone to acting boldly and quickly. On the other hand, Williams has said he’s not impressed with what’s available and the asking prices, and might stand pat. There’s not much the White Sox could do this month that would shock anyone.

Record: 52-42, two games ahead of Detroit (50-44) and Minnesota (51-45) in the American League Central
General manager: Kenny Williams, 10th year
Expectations: High. The South Side got a championship fix in 2005, and White Sox fans are buzzing over the big rally they have made in the standings.
Payroll status: Opening day payroll was $108.2 million, seventh-highest in baseball. The White Sox have about $66 million committed for 2011.

What they need

Left-handed bat: The White Sox have gotten a collective .231 batting average from their designated hitters, so bringing in a slugger to upgrade there is an obvious target. They’ve been focusing on left-handed power.

Starting pitcher: Considering Jake Peavy is out for the year, Chicago is actually in pretty decent shape and could sit tight with the rotation. But Daniel Hudson’s name is coming up a lot as part of a package to get a hitter, and if the Sox lose him they’ll probably need to move on adding a starter.

Who may fit

Adam Dunn Left-handed bat: Reports indicate the NationalsAdam Dunn is Williams’ top priority, and Dunn would be a great fit. As of early this week, the asking price (Gordon Beckham or Carlos Quentin, for openers) was more than Williams was willing to pay.

The other big name connected to the Sox is Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, though reports vary on whether Chicago is in that race. As with Dunn, the price would be steep.

On the next tier would be the AstrosLance Berkman, who is not having a great year and is expensive.  Also a possibility, though a remote one, is right-handed Toronto home run leader Jose Bautista.

Starting pitcher: Don’t expect Chicago to be in on the biggest names, but they could focus on a second-tier guy like Jake Westbrook, Kyle Farnsworth or possibly Fausto Carmona.

Trade chips

Young infielder Beckham (.241/.297/.341) is the first name to come up in talks, but the White Sox really want to hang onto the 23-year-old, whom they drafted in the first round in 2008. He’s still learning the ropes at the big-league level, but he has a huge upside at the plate.

Right-hander Hudson, also 23, is projected by most teams as a No. 3 or 4 starter, but the White Sox think his potential could be even higher.

They don’t want to move outfielder Quentin (.244/.344/.517), especially with the way he’s been hitting lately, but if it’s what it takes to get Dunn (who, in addition to bringing a high trade price would need a place to play, since he refuses to DH) without giving up Beckham, they might do it.

Why not offer closer Bobby Jenks? Right-hander J.J. Putz and left-hander Matt Thornton both have closing experience and are pitching out of their minds right now, so Jenks, a pending free agent, is expendable.

Cuban infielder Dayan Viciedo, 21, also is attracting a lot of attention. He has batted .295 in limited major-league action this season.

Predictions

The White Sox don’t meet the Nationals’ price for Dunn, who stays in Washington. They end up with Berkman or turn to alternative options such as Kosuke Fukudome or Adam LaRoche.

-- David Andriesen

More trade deadline chatter (click on city name for blog)
Buyers: New York YankeesLos Angeles Angels
Sellers: Florida MarlinsToronto Blue Jays

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Posted on: July 9, 2010 10:49 am
 

Cubs selling, but is anyone buying?

Alfonso Soriano Anyone want overpriced, underperforming baseball players?

Well, the Chicago Cubs are having a sale and they hope everything will go.

The Chicago Tribune writes :
Several baseball sources have confirmed to us that the Cubs are ramping up their efforts in the trade market to start clearing the books of cumbersome salaries.

In addition, it is expected that the team's ownership will address the media soon to assess the club's direction, especially if the team continues to struggle before the trading deadline.

"It has been very difficult for the family and the team the first half of the season," Tom Ricketts told season ticket holders Thursday at Wrigley Field. "This is not where the family wanted to be in the first half of the season.
The problem is, who wants what the Cubs are selling?

• A .276/.348/.548 guy with 15 homers and 43 RBI sounds pretty good, except that he's a liability in any defensive position and he's under contract through 2014 at $18 million per year (and a full no-trade clause).

• A middle reliever with more than $30 million left on his contract and a reputation as somewhat of a hothead.

• A broken-down corner infielder due $14.6 million next season hitting .195/.254/.350 with nine homers and 30 RBI.

• How about an extra outfielder due $13.5 million next season who is hitting .259/.357/.429 with eight homers, 26 RBI and has been caught staking as many times as he's stolen a bag (four)?

• A decent starter (7-7, 3.61 ERA 120 strikeouts, 43 walks in 122 innings) who makes $13.5 million next season and has an option for $14 million in 2012.

• A former All-Star first baseman who has only what's left on his $13 million contract for this season, but is hitting .230/.327/.367 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI.

It's not all bad, though. There are guys other teams may want, like Ted Lilly (3-7, 3.76 ERA), who is a free agent after the season, but does have a no-trade clause. He's the most likely to be traded, because people actually want him.

Carlos Silva (9-2, 2.96) is having a great season, but has a checkered past and is owned $11.5 million next season and has a $12 mutual option for 2012.

Closer Carlos Marmol would bring a decent prospect in return, and Sean Marshall would also be worthy to many teams as a set-up man, but both are more valuable for the Cubs on the team than as a trade piece.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 5:24 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 5:42 pm
 

AL manager struggles with NL strategy


See, the way this interleague play thing works is that you play by National League rules in National League parks and by American League rules in American League parks. So, if say, you're playing at Wrigley Field, pitchers have to hit.

Oh, wait, you knew that? Oakland manager Bob Geren apparently didn't. Perhaps Billy Beane should have gotten off his exercise bike to let him know that for Thursday's game against the Cubs.

Instead Jerry Blevins was in the game in the ninth and loaded the bases with three walks before Kosuke Fukudome's walk-off single.

In the eighth inning, the A's led 2-1 when Michael Wuertz loaded the bases and with one out, Geren brought in his closer, Andrew Bailey. That sounds about right, it's the highest-leverage situation. Where he went wrong was not double-switching, knowing the pitcher's spot (in this case, the No. 6 spot) was coming up to lead off the ninth.

In fairness, Geren showed an awareness of the National League rules in the seventh inning when he had Gabe Gross hit for Dallas Braden and stay in the game in right field, replacing Jack Cust.

But in the eighth, Geren brought Bailey into the game and made no other move. Bailey suffered his third blown save of the season when he gave up a sacrifice fly to Xavier Nady, before getting Alfonso Soriano to ground out to end the inning.

Ryan Sweeney singled to lead off the inning, but the A's couldn't get him in, setting up Fukudome's heroics.

The A's bullpen blew the win for Braden, who still hasn't picked up a victory since his perfect game on May 9. Braden was in line for the win after allowing just one run on five hits in six innings.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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